Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Trust have been working in partnership across a number of issues since mid-2019. Since that time, further internal discussions have taken place within North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust regarding the future strategic direction of the Trust.
These discussions culminated in September 2019 in a decision by the Trust Board of Directors and Council of Governors to recommend to NHS Improvement that the Trust be acquired by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust. The rationale underpinning this decision is the recognition that, in coming years, growing financial challenges are likely to put the quality and safety of patient care at risk within the services provided by the Trust; which the Board of Directors have determined cannot be allowed to happen.
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust was considered by the Board of Directors and Council of Governors as the most favourable organisation to acquire the Trust given their track record in delivering high quality clinical services and their financial stability. In October 2019, NHS Improvement notified the Trust that it supported the recommendation.
A Transaction Board was established in January 2020 to provide strategic oversight for the acquisition of the Cheshire and Merseyside services, and this was chaired by Joe Rafferty, Chief Executive of Mersey Care.
In September 2020, the Transaction Board was extended to include the strategic oversight of the transfer of Wigan, Bolton and Greater Manchester services, and as such the membership of the Transaction Board was extended to include representatives from the Executive Team from Greater Manchester Mental Health. The Transaction Board is chaired by Stephen Downs, Director of Operational Finance – North West, as the independent Chair from NHS Improvement.
The transfer of our Cheshire and Merseyside services is led by Tracy Hill, Executive Director of Strategy and Organisational Effectiveness/Transaction Programme Director, supported by Hannah Hague, Assistant Programme Director for the Transaction. Chris Lyons, Director of Transformation/Programme Director is the lead from Mersey Care.
A Transaction Programme Group jointly established by Mersey Care and ourselves oversees the operational management of the transfer of services to Mersey Care. The Group oversees the progress of the following ten work streams:
- Clinical Governance and Quality
- Workforce and Organisational Effectiveness
- Information Management and Technology and Performance
- Communications and Stakeholder Engagement
- Corporate Governance
- Corporate Services
- Estates and Facilities
- Procurement, Contracting and Finance
We have worked with Mersey Care to develop a strategic case document which was approved by both Trust Boards and NHS England / NHS Improvement in June 2020. The strategic case is a document which outlines how the proposal for our Cheshire and Merseyside staff and services to transfer to Mersey Care would be positive for patient care and staff, while making financial sense and benefiting the wider health and care system.
Mersey Care has developed and submitted a comprehensive business case outlining the detail for how the transaction will take place for staff and services to transfer to Mersey Care on 1 June 2021.